Tag:Wizards
Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:53 am
Edited on: October 17, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Gilbert Arenas's fine is a drop in the bucket

Arenas fined $50,000 by league for faking injury
Posted by Matt Moore


Gilbert Arenas has paid his debt to society after spending a month in a detention center earlier this year following his sentencing for felony gun possession. Now apparently he's decided to start working on paying his debt to the league, since he keeps finding inventive ways to send them dough.

The Wizards fined Arenas $50,000 for lying to Flip Saunders about an injury in order to get more time for Nick Young on the floor. It's a pretty healthy chunk of change. And it's not the first or last time Arenas has shelled out some dough to the league.

In 2009, Arenas was fined $25,000 for refusing to speak to the media during the preseason. Prior to that he was fined $7,500 for criticizing offiicials. And, you know, all the court fees, lawyer fees, and dough lost during his suspension last season. Add all that up and it's enough to take a huge.... nothing out of his income. Arenas makes $216,227 per game this season. Subtract all the mone he's paid in fines over the past three years from his first paycheck this year and he'd still have over $133,000 to buy all the gold-plated guns he wants.

And that's got to partially be why Arenas fails to change his behavior. Sure, you'd expect maturity, or maybe even simple deductive logic to take some sort of effect, but I think we can agree that ship has sailed. In the meantime, only punitive efforts can hope to alter his behavior, and, well, they're not getting the job done. This isn't to say that Arenas needs to be fined more, or have any harsher punishments handed down. What he did simply wasn't a big deal. But if we wonder why Arenas fails to take anything seriously, why he acts petulant and immature regarding all of these public relations disaster and his lone criminal act which was very much dangerous to himself and others, perhaps it's that vantage point of perspective that he's incapable of reaching. No matter what's happened to him, his life isn't very much different. He gets paid, still, and while losing last year's salary was surely a blow, he is making $17 million this season, which probably makes the recovery path a bit easier.

$50,000 is a stiff slap on the wrist from the Wizards, and yet it's a drop in the bucket, just as this latest silly act was a drop in the bucket of his facepalm-worthy moments.

This is Arenas. And he isn't changing. And all the fines won't even make him blink. Unless, you know, the owners manage to make contracts non-guaranteed. But then we'll have bigger issues because hell will have frozen over.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 5:55 pm
 

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama



CBSSports.com's Ken Berger discusses the tech debate, Amar'e Stoudemire's MSG debut, the Celtics' depth, and the continuing MeloDrama about Carmelo Anthony.

Posted by Matt Moore

Each week we'll be bringing you five questions for our own Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about the inside happenings of the league. This week, Ken talks about the Celtics' depth, this ridiculous tech debate, and drops some knowledge on the latest happenings in the Carmelo Anthony trade discussions. You can email your questions to the Friday 5 With KB at cbssportsnba@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba.

1. Obviously the big story this week is about the technical fouls and Kevin Garnett's ejection which you wrote about. Do you see the league trying to take this hard of a line when the season starts or will they back off to make sure we don't have Garnett tossed on opening night against Miami?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Both sides are going to have to adjust and find some sort of middle ground. The NBPA put its cards on the table Thursday by threatening legal action over the league's clampdown on complaining. On one hand, this is a way for the union to force the league to make the next move and soften its stance. With the CBA showdown looming, I don't see that happening. In fact, by doing exactly what the league is trying to eliminate -- complaining -- the players may have actually caused the league office to dig in even harder on its desire to enforce the new rules. There's no comment or response from league executives yet regarding the players' lawsuit threat. I suspect the NBA will publicly ignore the players' complaint, but privately urge the officials to lighten up a bit. I think players, officials and fans will agree that blatant bullying and demonstrative complaining should result in a tech. It's unrealistic to think that spontaneous outbursts -- a fist pump, a clap, a shrug, and "and-one" gesture -- can be legislated out of the game. Another undesirable result of teeing up every player who disagrees with a call will be the shutting down of communication between players and refs. A little give-and-take is vital to keeping the game moving and letting the players feel as though they have a voice. Trying to force the players to clam up and become robots will only heighten their frustration, lead to more techs and ejections, and make for a bad, bad scene.

2. The other story this week is the continuing saga of the idiocy that is Gilbert Arenas. Flip Saunders talked about how disappointed he was in Arenas, and that seems like such a shame because Saunders has gone out of his way to try and embrace Arenas back into the fold. Is this going to to renew the Wizards' efforts to move him, no matter how difficult that may be?

KB: The problem is this: Washington's best chance to trade Arenas would be if he proved right away that he's OK mentally and physically. He's 0-for-2 so far -- faking an injury and getting fined, and then actually getting hurt in the very next game. So until Arenas can stay on the court, tone down the distractions and prove that he's still capable of playing at an All-Star level, the Wizards are stuck with him and the $80 million he's owed. He has to do that consistently; I'm told that any teams that may be interested in taking a chance need to see a body of work consisting of at least a month or two with effective play and no shenanigans before they'll be willing to consider it.

3. Amar'e certainly looked good against the Celtics, even during the brief period Garnett was on the floor. Raymond Felton seems to be struggling with him in the pick and roll, but is it possible that Stoudemire (gasp) actually doesn't need Steve Nash in order to be a top flight power forward in this league?


KB: You're right. If he stays healthy, Stoudemire will put up immense numbers in New York. Mike D'Antoni's offense has been like a giant fan with nowhere to blow the air. Stoudemire is the outlet the system has been craving. It will take time for Felton and Stoudemire to achieve anything that resembles chemistry; and it hasn't helped that Felton embraced his new team, new power forward and new system by showing up barely a week before camp, and overweight, at that.

4. Boston's depth seems like it's going to be better than it has been in years. If that's the case, they're going to rest starters even more than last year, right?


KB: That's the plan, but Doc Rivers is ready for the plan to change. The players he's most concerned with health-wise aren't Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They're the role players, such as the role players named O'Neal. Rivers already has admitted publicly that it's unrealistic to think the Celtics can make it through the regular season without injuries. Once Kendrick Perkins comes back, Jermaine O'Neal will go to the bench, but he won't be any less susceptible to aches and pains. I think if Doc could shave a minute or three off Pierce's and Allen's averages from last season -- 34 and 35, respectively -- he'd feel good about it going into the postseason. Keeping Garnett around 29 minutes -- his average last season -- is probably about right, given that he's healthier than he was at any point in 2009-10. The big concern is with the aging bigs. Doc is going to have to be careful with anyone named O'Neal.

5. The Blazers got outed this week as one of the failed participants in the last gasps of the Carmelo four-way. Miller's got to be getting tired of being on the block, especially after only a little more than a year with Portland. Is that situation going to go anywhere any time soon?

KB: The Melo talks never stopped; they've just quieted down. New Jersey has continued to engage in discussions with Denver, though there's been little progress over the past week or so. Rarely does a low-profile front-office hire have a major impact on a franchise-shaping decision, but the Nuggets' hiring of cap whiz Pete D'Alessandro will greatly streamline the Melo negotiations once they Heat up again. One of the biggest problems for teams dealing with Denver was that new GM Masai Ujiri had never put together a trade of such magnitude. His strength is personnel; with Mark Warkentien out of the picture, the Nuggets had nobody well-versed in the complexities of structuring complicated trades. D'Alessandro's knowledge of the CBA and his relationships with other deal-makers around the league will breathe new life into the Melo talks. There may still be philosophical hangups among Denver's convoluted power structure, but at least there will be someone involved who has experience navigating the minefield of NBA trade rules. The Nuggets, Nets, Jazz and Bobcats were close enough to agreeing on a deal that a little tweaking here or there by someone with a strong background in such things would've pushed it to the finish line. It's only a matter of time before it gets to that point again. And once it does, a significant obstacle to completing the original deal won't be a factor anymore.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 9:55 am
 

Shootaround 10.15.10: Good and bad places

Dwight Howard thinks the new rule has its place, Monta Ellis' wife is keeping him in the right place, Andre Blatche needs a new place, and Al Jefferson is getting into a good place, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

So while the Union's suing and the Celtics are freaking out, Dwight Howard has come out and said that in regards to the new tech rules, "They want us to cut down on talking to the refs, as hard as that may be. We've adjusted to everything else that's put out there. So we'll adjust." That's right. The guy that watches cartoons, does funny voices, and is pretty much known as a big kid, he's the one who's being grown up about this. The world's gone mad. Dwight Howard is in a place where he can have perspective and Kevin Garnett is not. What is happening?

Marvel Comics is teaming up with ESPN and the NBA for a series of promotional spots . Does it bother anyone else how much the league is marketing towards the storyline of LeBron leaving Cleveland? Don't get me wrong, I've been softer on James than others because if you asked me if I wanted to go work somewhere nicer with two of my friends with a greater chance of success, I'd probably do it too. But rubbing Cleveland's nose in it constantly for marketing purposes and playing into their spurned response seems exploitive.

Monta Ellis is in a much better place emotionally and mentally. Why? Dude got married and his wife, a lady cop, has him in line. I can understand where Ellis is coming from, as I'm sure a lot of men can. You have your wilder 20's, jacking up shots and riding mopeds, and then you get married and that stuff gets thrown out. This would be better if she were a segway cop or something. Still, it's good to see Ellis in a better place.

Mike Wells of the Indy Star reports that both Dahntay Jones and Solomon Jones are on the block as the Pacers try and move for a big man.

TruthAboutIt.Net's Kyle Weidie is more concerned with Andre Blatche at the moment than Gilbert Arenas. Blatche boosted his stock immensely last year with some solid play on the blown-up Wizards. But he thinks of himself as a primary scoring threat, not as a complimentary piece, and has big chemistry issues. If they can get him on the market and get a good player to put next to Wall for him, they should move, and quickly.

Alvin Gentry is telling his team that if they want to be succesful this year, they're going to have to be a "GREAT" defensive team . This for a team that had a worse defensive rating than any of Mike D'Antoni's years. Even if you think Amar'e was the problem (and he wasn't), good luck with that, coach.

Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion in practice and is out indefinitely. Perhaps he was confused on what being "unconscious" from the arc meant.

In case you missed it last night , you need to see John Wall destroying the Bucks in 40 secons. For real.

Mike D'Antoni called Anthony Randolph a "stat magnet. " If only that magnet wasn't similarly charged to that of a "high basketball IQ magnet" because Randolph seems to repel that idea. Many, Knicks fans especailly, hope this is the season that changes. He can be an absolute game-changer when his head's in the right place.

And finally, just a small basketball note. If you caught last night's Jazz game you saw this, but if you didn't, Al Jefferson looked really good. Even with an out-of-shape Deron Williams working with him, Jefferson was hitting from all over the floor and attacking the glass on both sides of the ball. Defensively he's still figuring the system out, but things are looking tremendously good for Utah's new acquisition.


Posted on: October 13, 2010 4:45 am
 

Arenas may or may not have faked injury for Young

Wizards guard tells reporters he faked an injury to give younger player playing time. Posted by Matt Moore

Part of the collateral damage of Gilbert Arenas' complete and total public image meltdown over the past 12 months has been the perception of him as a leader. He went from being the kooky but lovable best-player-on-the-team and presumed captain o' swagger to being an immature attention hog with no respect for his teammates or himself. This year he's shown up a changed man, ditching the smiles, saying he's cutting the beard, and talking constantly about it being John Wall's team. He's shown a legitimate commitment to the idea of sacrifice.

Maybe too much.

TruthAboutIt.Net (our winner for Tuesday night's Blog o' the Evening) reports tonight of some comments from Arenas that may wind up putting him in hot water . Before the game, Arenas was announced as out with some soreness in his leg. No biggie, happens all the time. Nick Young took his place and dropped 24, which is great for the youngster who's struggled through most of his career.

Story over, right?

Except not.

Post-game, Arenas told reporters:
“Yea, I told him I’d sacrifice playing tonight so he’d get some time. Because I know he’s kinda frustrated not getting a chance to crank it up at the three position, especially since we’re going three guards. So I told him I’d fake an injury or say something’s wrong with me. So that’s why he said sacrifice.”


Wait.

What?

Now, in the video over at TruthAboutIt.Net, Arenas has a smile on his face when he tells this to reporters. Maybe he was kidding. Maybe he was jerking their chain, in order to create posts remarkably like, oh, say, this one. It's not outside the realm of possibility that Gilbert Arenas really was hurt and decided to say this because everyone might flip out about it.

Or, you know, he may have actually lied to his coach, faked an injury, and disrupted the coach's plan for the team all because he thought he was doing something nice for a younger player. Both of these scenarios are completely possible. That's what happens when you're Gilbert Arenas. If Arenas is telling the truth and he did fake an injury, that's not going to sit well with Flip Saunders. As TAI author Kyle Weidie discusses, Saunders actually spoke up in defense of Arenas post-game. To mess with Saunders and his plans for the team in that way would be not only irresponsible, but disruptive. And not at all cool.

This could be nothing, it could be something, and we won't really know until reporters are baited into asking Saunders about it in the morning. By then, Saunders could have talked it out with Arenas and come up with reasonable cover,which could also conveniently be the truth. The truth...ahem, about it... is that there are two possibilities here. Either Arenas is actually pulling stunts like this, which would reflect a blatant disregard for authority, or he's kidding about that, which is only going to lead to questions for Flip Saunders, which shows a gaping lack of maturity.

Welcome to the puzzle that is Gilbert Arenas, still, to this day. Have fun figuring it out.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 11:01 pm
 

Sam Cassell teaching John Wall about the post

Wizards rookie guard working on post-moves with NBA champion and assistant coach Cassell.
Posted by Matt Moore


One of the best things the Wizards have going for them is Sam Cassell on the coaching staff. Cassell's able to bring first-hand experience as a player for contending teams and has a versatile skillset to teach the Wizards guards. Which is convenient, since the Wizards now have the top rookie point guard. Convenient.

Wizards blog TruthAboutIt.Net secured video of Cassell working with John Wall on post-ups today. It's nothing riveting, but it's worth a look if only to see how well Wall works on the turnaround. It won't help him against, say, Deron Williams in the post, but against smaller guards, it's good to have it in your pocket, and be able to defend against it because that's likely to happen to him a lot, especially early on.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:49 pm
 

Rookie Wall leading Wizards as captain

Wizards rookie already taking reins as captain as team heads toward regular season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Can you teach leadership? The jury's still out, you have to think. There have been many players that have grown into being leaders after bouts with immaturity of sheepishness, and some players just never get it, despite the attention paid to them by coaches on the matter. But some players, at least, do get it right away. One such player is John Wall.

The prodigal point guard has already claimed captain status on the Wizards alongside Kirk Hinrich. And boy, if that isn't opposite sides of the coin. Wizards blog TruthAboutIt.Net has the scoop :

On Monday afternoon, when I asked Flip Saunders who had arisen to fill the team captain position(s) this year, he sounded pretty confident that 20-year old John Wall and soon-to-be 30-year old Kirk Hinrich would be his men. “Right now we’ve gone with Hinich and Wall. Those are the two guys, at this point, that have shown leadership through camp. So that’s where we’re at right now,” said the coach.

So you've got a 20 year old kid who has come in and been vocal enough to be a leader on a squad filled with NBA veterans, all while showcasing explosive athletic ability and tremendous vision at the most pivotal position in the sport. Yeah, I'd say that whole lottery thing worked out pretty well this year for the Wizards. Weidie at TruthAboutIt.Net went on to ask Saunders about Gilbert Arenas. You know, the former All-Star veteran who you'd hope has taken a forceful voice in practices in order to make up for the time he missed last year and repair his significantly damaged reputation:

“We just haven’t really talked,” said Saunders. “Those two guys have been our two most vocal guys and our two guys that have shown leadership.”

Well, then. That's unfortunate, though not unexpected.

Back to Wall, it's things like this that make you believe this kid could have a higher learning curve than even his Calipari-bred predecessors in Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. In fact, Wall may be the most cerebral point guard to come out of the top five since Chris Paul. All with excellent instincts, athleticism, and vision. Now if he could just get that jumper wet...
Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:45 pm
 

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall have huge debuts in preseason to set the tone for the ROY chase this season. And it may not be close.
Posted by Matt Moore




Say what you want about John Calipari, he finds himself some NBA quality talent. After producing the previous two Rookie of the Year award winners in Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, Calipari may end up having more than one horse in the race this season. Both John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were highly touted coming out of college, but through Summer League and their first preseason games, we're already getting a sense that it may be these two, and then everyone else for the top rook trophy.

Wall-Eyed


John Wall in his first game on an NBA floor? He was remarkable. Better than expected. Preseason? Sure. But you can't argue with the kind of production he provided, and not just the numbers that pop out to you. 21 points, 9 assists, 4 steals? Great. But he shot 42% from the field, and more importantly was 9-11 from the line.  Most crucial was just two turnovers despite having the ball that much. That's absolutely huge. That numbers will rise with better competition, but just to show the ability is huge for the Wizards as they look for him to become the future of the franchise.

But don't take my words for it. Here's what Wizards blog Bullets Forever had to say on the matter:

"It's possible I underestimated the effect of John coming at you in transition will have on his stats and the team's performance.  Dallas isn't exactly the fastest team in the world, but their only chance at stopping Wall coming at full speed was to foul him. 

Wall's half-court execution does still need work, especially his pick and roll offense.  He's still learning how to attack the pick in such a way where he actually uses it well.  But on the bright side, he didn't turn the ball over much and he realized that Dallas was often playing him to pass."


That's crucial. For some reason, beyond my comprehension, there's been this feeling that Wall's a natural scorer who will have to work to set other players up. If you watched him in college at Kentucky? You know that's not true. Wall more than any other player showed a skillset that fit passing in the NBA best. His drive and kick to the baseline jumper man was automatic, except it was college and no one hits that shot in college (except for Patrick Patterson). He establishes chemistry with a big man (JaVale McGee in Washington off the bat) and works to see him in transition. He's lightning quick but sees the floor at a slower pace.

Wall has the potential to distribute with this team, the question was if he'd be allowed to among veterans who like the ball. If the preseason holds any value whatsoever, that doesn't seem like a problem. Even Gilbert Arenas in his postgame comments made it clear . This is Wall's team. And if that's the case, that Rookie of the Year award is going to be within reach from the get go.

Run DMC in Full Effect

DeMarcus Cousins slipped all the way to the Kings at number five, and honestly, there was absolutely no reason for it. His character issues are all built around on-court blowups which aren't unheard of for a kid his age, and he hasn't been in off-court trouble since his sophomore year of high school. In the meantime, he was arguably the MVP of Calipari's Kentucky team.

Sacramento knows what they have in the combustible big and have marketed him all summer. Then in his preseason debut last night, he showed what he's capable of. 16 points, 16 rebounds, are you freaking kidding me? Check out the two highlights in the first starting at 37 seconds in here . That's what he's bringing, along with what was a good looking jumper.

Cousins has so much instinctive ability at the basket, and for a team looking to run this season, he focused last night on outlet passes. That's a terrifying concept for opponents, if he's able to finish in the post and start the break while bringing in rebounds. His wide body and instincts are going to bring those rebounds in, and preseason or no, 16 boards is a heck of a lot. Cousins already looks like the steal of the draft, and his physical assets put him a leg above Blake Griffin, even before the injury, though Griffin's upside is obviously huge.

Here's what Sactown Royalty had to say on the matter of "Boogie":

On defense, he was surprisingly active, contesting shots, denying his man position.  He still needs a bit of work, but I think he could be a quality defensive presence someday, especially with his knack for drawing charges.  Another nice thing about DeMarcus is that he eats rebounds and craps nice outlet passes.  Many a fastbreak was started last night after DMC corralled the board and threw it out to Tyreke or Beno.  His solid performance was not without flaws however, as he made a few silly mistakes with the ball (including once trying to run the ball up the floor himself after a rebound, leading to a quick turnover) which led to five turnovers, all but one of them because of careless mistakes that can be fixed with experience. 

Cousins' learning curve could be high as well, depending on how he and the coaching staff mesh, which of course gets back to the attitude questions. But with that kind of opening performance and the minutes he's getting from the start, it's clear Sacramento knows what they have with him. Alongside Tyreke Evans, Cousins has a great shot of being able to compete for the trophy based on opportunity and instincts.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 7:22 pm
 

The owners are not kidding about a hard cap

Washington owner reveals onwership desire for a hard cap in labor negotiations, no one is pleased.
Posted by Matt Moore


The NBA labor talks had been pretty cordial so far . Both sides had made some noise in the other's direction, but things looked like they might be headed towards progress. That's great news for those of us wanting to avoid a lockout and get back to the business of watching basketball. And then, Ted Leonsis decided to get all loose-lipped.

Leonsis spoke to a group of Washington businessmen Tuesday and accidentally, or perhaps "accidentally" let slip a significant aspect of the NBA owners' approach to the labor talks. In short, they really do want a hard cap, and they intend to get it. Buckle up.

"In a salary cap era -- and soon a hard salary cap in the NBA like it's in the NHL -- if everyone can pay the same amount to the same amount of players, its the small nuanced differences that matter," he said.
Whoops. NBA commissioner David Stern was quick to bring the hammer down to try and contain the damage today in a statement to reporters.

"We're negotiating and that was one of our negotiating points," Stern told the Associated Press, "but collective bargaining is a negotiating process, and that was not something that Ted was authorized to say and he will be dealt with for that lapse in judgment."

Geez. Hope Ted doesn't own any horse stables. The NBAPA obviously did take notice of the little slip of the tongue, and commented the following on Twitter.

Wiz owner Leonsis likes NHL-style hard salary cap. Must like lockouts, too. http://tiny.cc/jikrx @dwadeofficial @kingjames @carmeloanthony
Yikes. Message received, loud and clear, NBAPA.

This is a pretty big tip of the hand by the owners, and an attempt to gain public favor for a hard cap represents a pretty big violation of unspoken rules for the negotiations. This is all beside the fact that a hard cap? It's going to be total war for the owners to get. There's no middle ground here. The NBA currently has that middle ground, with a salary cap exceedable by various exceptions. A hard cap is an all-or-nothing element of the negotiations, and it represents a total victory for the owners. It's also the last line in the sand for the players, who in no way will want to play under something which restricts their salaries to that degree.

Leonsis either intended to reveal the ownership's desire for a hard cap, in a calculated effort to get the issue into public discussion, or really did slip, in which case he's not nearly the braniac we thought he was. This complicates the negotiations in general and enflames both sides.

Like I said, buckle up, kiddos. This is going to be a a long, hard lockout.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com